Friday Sep 16, 2011
Updates from the Tokyo Game Show! Today is the official start of the consumer days from the Japanese show, but for the last two days the SEGA team has been on site demoing for press and business alike. Unlike most shows where it’s either a consumer focus or a business focus (like E3, for example) – TGS merges the two for a full featured show. Today’s blog is a wrap up from the last two days of floor time, including photos, updates, and more food!
The TGS Show Floor
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the Tokyo Game Show in presentation and layout. I’ve done a fair amount of shows, most of the big ones, and the TGS show floor definitely a bit different. The show is in a massive hall spread out amongst two large hangar style areas, featuring massive booths from the top publishers, and smaller booths peppered in from smaller devs and companies.
I had a chance to walk the floor a bit before the show started and get some shots of the SEGA space before anyone came into play. The layout is very clean and leads you quickly from one game to the next, with queues for each. Each game also features a special gift at the end of play, a reward or a thank you for the time spent. Check the end of the blog for the full merch photo!
Binary Domain was a big focus of the show for SEGA, with a massive booth that had both upstairs play areas, and secluded downstairs rooms for the voice recognition features. In the game, you can direct your team to execute on tactics entirely through voice commands. Of course this is not required, you can use the controller as well, but in the heat of battle it’s far more efficient to call out tactics rather than stop and direct – it works quite well!
Special Gift – A Binary Domain pen was given out to players who played the demo. Part mechanical, part not, naturally…
Anarchy Reigns, or Max Anarchy as it’s known in Japan, was a drawing quite a crowd during the show and for good reason – it’s PlatinumGames after all. The demo was similar to the E3 code, with a timed four player brawl and multiple characters to choose from. Having wrecked folks at the E3 show with Zero, I thought I’d have another go with Jack and see how I did – not so good this time haha. I didn’t do the worst, but had fun and enjoyed seeing player’s eyes light up with big, signature moves from the characters.
Special Gift – Jack’s Golden Chainsaw was passed out in the form of a thin metal book mark – but it also includes a code to unlock this golden edition within the final game!
This panoramic shot from the booth gives you a sense of the hallway that goes through the middle. Next to Anarchy Reigns is Puyo-pop, Sonic Generations, Shinobi. It eventually leads back out to Phantasy Star Online 2 and the front area of the SEGA booth.
Shinobi was quite popular on the floor as well, and I couldn’t help but jump in and play a bit myself. I know this game and play it regularly, so the rep was a bit surprised when they started to tell me how to play, I realized I was actually a bit better than they expected. The gameplay is tight and fluid, it’s fun to pick up and have a go, it was excellent to have another pass at it.
Special Gift – Shinobi featured a glossy sticker from some of the high res art for the game.
Recently announced Rhythm Thief was on display and was massively fun. The booth area was really slick as well, with many differnet stations set up to play the game, maybe 20 in total. I can’t stop gushing about how much fun the demo was, the only thing I didn’t like was the fact that I couldn’t understand any of the dialog.
The game is a Rhythm game, as the title suggests, but with excellent story told through cutscenes as well as exploration around town. Once you explore the town, you can jump into missions which feature different Rhythm based games. For example, the first section featured dancing with timed swipes of the touch pad for moves. Depending on how well you did, the ranking would go up and you’d be rewarded with a slick animation transition. Another section was almost steath style, as you moved in a museum area after hours and dodged guards. Statues would appear on a side scrolling path and you’d match pose of the statue to evade the guard’s gaze. Really fun and very stylized, it’s a big game on my list for the 3DS.
Special Gift – A tote bag that is amazing and a special gift for Kellie when I return to the office. Check the end of the blog for a photo; so cool! These bags were carried around everywhere on the show floor.
Phantasy Star Online 2 was packed and for good reason – it’s awesome. As a huge Phantasy Star fan myself, it was great to see the game being played and loved by so many. My roots with the SEGA office are tied to the Phantasy Star Series, so I had a chance to meet a lot of the folks I’ve worked with over the years and watch the game from afar. Really loving the look and feel of the game so far, and as a fanboy, will be watching this title for every update.
Black Panther 2 was shown on the floor, as well as the ladies from the game across a fairly extravagant seating area. I’m afraid I didn’t get a chance to play with the game, but the booth was quite crowded and seemed very popular.
Special Gift – Axe Body wipes. No really. They feature a fantastic image of a guy on a subway with a swooning girl on the seat next to him. Photos of this will be postes as soon as I get this back from my friend.
Each of the larger companies at TGS had a stage for presentations. Featured above is Nagoshi-san, discussing all elements from the upcoming Binary Domain. There was also a live demo of the voice commands for your squad from the demo on the floor and a longer trailer outlinging the story of the game. Really good presentation, Binary Domain is looking like a fantastic title. The pace of the game is slower, and while I’ve seen comparisons to Vanquish, you’ll find it’s more tactical and team focused, than the PlatinumGames release. The more I see of the game, the more I like it.
At the end of the show, the girls that were on staff for all of the booths line up for a photo opportunity with media and consumers. I honestly thought this was a joke when someone told me it was going to happen, but sure enough, here it is. As random as this was, it seems the best way to end on the overall show coverage from the SEGA booth!
Special Gifts and Collectibles!
Behind Closed Doors
I asked if I could take photos or blog the stuff behind the scenes, see Wouter’s response below:
Even though this blog is massive already, I’m still going to post food from the past two days – it’s just too delicious out here. Seriously, if nothing else, go to Japan for the food, everything I’ve had has been great.
We’ve managed to eat Izakaya twice now on the trip and looking at the photos above, you should have a clear understanding why. The style is a mix of different types of foods, from Sashimi, to sushi, to gyoza, to … well to everything honestly. This is the perfect end of day meal, as we can sit around and relax at a slower pace and order food to share amongst the table. Lots of different things to taste and try.
This is a shot from lunch at TGS with Wouter and Tokuhara-san, the producer on Super Monkey Ball Vita. They are both eating shake chicken, or chicken shake … or … Ok, so you get a cup with battered and fried chicken inside and the spice / flavor in as well. Shake the chicken in the cup to mix it all up and eat from there. It’s pretty interesting presentation and both confirmed, quite good as well.
Vending machines in Japan are everywhere, with all sorts of of flavors and styles. I bought this solely because it was adorable and I’m not even that big of a apple juice! It was still quite good and still many more things to try!
More to come!
If you’ve made it this far – thank you! It’s been really fun to write these updates and I hope you’ve been enjoying them. I’m planning to one more based on today’s activities and general city exploration – we’ll see how that turns out!
If you’ve got questions on anything, do let me know – can’t promise I can answer all, but I’ll be happy to try!
Wednesday Sep 14, 2011
Community is at TGS 2011 this year and while we prepare for the upcoming show, I thought everyone would enjoy a preview into our trip out. This is my first trip out to Japan, so I’m learning a lot of what the area is like, the food, the culture, and the heat – it’s so hot!
This is our second time over in Japan covering the TGS show, so I’m going to try and take a bit different approach from what Aaron did in 2009, which honestly might be more food pictures, but that’s ok! Check out Aaron’s coverage for day 1, day 2, and day 3 from the way back machine in 2009.
Our hotel is centrally located in Shinjuku, which if you’ve played the Yakuza series, it will look very familiar. The area is very busy, and as my first introduction to Tokyo, very exciting. Lots to see and do, with every street opening to a new pedestrian alley way with shops, restaurants, stores, and clubs. And the people too – Shinjuku is very crowded at night with no shortage of people flooding the streets and heading to the very large Shinjuku station.
Pictures of Food Edition
Priorities for the first few days is preparing for the big Tokyo Game Show and eating local food. We’ve long discussed starting a food blog, so this will be our first preview entry with more to come from our trip out. Everything we’ve had so far has been delicious and while I knew the food would be good, I wasn’t prepared for how good it would be!
Lunch out with our Overseas business team, we picked out chirashi and tonkatsu curry. Having curry is just one item to check off my to-do list and it was very very good too!
Onward to dinner! I’m not entirely sure what this was, but it was good and an interesting photo…
Look familiar? This is the same spot that Aaron went to in his night out with our overseas team. I can confirm, it was just as good as he said it was. Good friends, new friends, and great food.
Sega of Japan Main Office
Day’s big outing is to check in with our SEGA of Japan main office and do some work preparing for the big show tomorrow. The fun part for us was traveling out to visit the SEGA offices and navigating the subway stations and a transfer or two to find our way. Discovering your way around a transit system in a new city is always a bit of a challenge, so imagine trying to do so with a language barrier! We had fun and the adventure was well worth it to arrive at the main SEGA building.
The SEGA lobby is pretty slick with a familiar face greeting all new visitors as well as a wall of memorabilia with Sonic and SEGA related items.
But wait, there’s more!
So this wraps up Day 1, but there’s still more to see and do and the Tokyo Game Show starts proper tomorrow AM. Definitely check out the Flickr page for TGS 2011 with a few more photos from the days events, perhaps a preview into things to come across the blogs – seriously, I could post more and more photos, but I need sleep – tomorrow is a big day!
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